From GERM to FERM
On page 149 of Pasi Sahlberg’s Second Edition of Finnish Lessons 2.0 is a 5-point chart differentiating between GERM and FERM — Global Education Reform Movement and Finnish Education Reform Model.
Since the Gonski Institute, in its hire of Sahlberg, seems dedicated to education equity then this chart will be a handy road-map to follow if this shift is indeed part of the reason for the hire:
– From competition between schools to collaboration among schools
– From standardized learning to personalized learning
– From focus on literacy and numeracy to focus on the whole child
– From test-based accountability to trust-based responsibility
– From school choice to equity of outcomes
Now, when we talk about equity of outcomes, let’s remember that that is not equality of opportunity. Equity could very well result in reducing levels of accomplishment (the Finnish slides in international test scores) while student achievement gaps are narrowed.
The book is extremely interesting in that a lot of content deals with the conscious political development of Finland toward a high level welfare state.
About education we learn how teaching has become a hallowed profession under “pedagogical conservatism . . . learning from the past and teaching for the future”. This does not mean that research and evidence-based knowledge leads education development but rather socialization policies and practices prevail. Thus, we already see Sahlberg downplaying the phonics check, a highly research endorsed move to improve student reading capacity.
And, let’s not forget, Sahlberg’s visit coincides with New South Wales recent axing of Reading Recovery, a 30-year program now shown to be ineffective and, in the eyes of at least one reading expert, as “harmful” and not holding up to “scientific scrutiny”.
Will the rising interest of Australia’s educators in evidence-based reform be in collision with Sahlberg/Gonski equity drive? Certainly bears watching. I’m from Canada and am very intrigued with this move.
January 10, 2018 at 5:34 pm
Pasi Sahlberg’s Second Edition of his book, Finnish Lessons, is much more instructive, even prescriptive, about their education system and how it builds, supports and embeds the modern welfare state. He is a great fan of John Dewey. In his latest book, 2015, Forewords are by Diane Ravitch and Andy Hargreaves of GELP (Global Education Leaders Partnership) and with an Afterword by Sir Ken Robinson. Robinson emphasizes that Finnish education “is embedded in the numerous economic, social, and cultural changes that are affecting Finland’s overall way of life.”
[sent to Greg Ashman post on Pasi Sahlberg, today 10 Jan, 2018 – site is Filling th Pail ]